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Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron Territory (Updated, corrected)

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2012/3/12 19:10:00 (4086 reads)

Here's a story we're working on; check back later for more details and quotes: (Or leave a comment if you have thoughts)

Residents of Castle Hills are organizing to object to a plan by Lewisville ISD to rezone some mostly-unpopulated territory to The Colony High School from the Hebron High School zone. A small portion of the new territory includes 78 K-12 students, some of whom would be grandfathered into the existing Hebron zone.

The plan proposed by LISD Student Services calls for rezoning an area South of S.H. 121 from Hebron to the Colony, though students in that area currently in 8th - 11th grade would be grandfathered in, and allowed to attend Hebron High School. Although the area is largely unimproved area with no living units, there is a small section at the Western end of the area called Castle Hills North, which is about 66% built out.

Residents of Castle Hills have started a website called Rezone The Dirt, calling on Lewisville ISD to allow the neighborhood to stay zoned for Hebron, while rezoning "the dirt" (the rest of the area, which is just "dirt") into The Colony's zone.

Here's a map of the territory proposed for rezoning, showing The Colony's zone in Yellow, and Hebron in Blue, with the gray area being the proposed rezone to The Colony:

View Proposed Boundaries - The Colony High School Zone in a larger map

There is a meeting for LISD Parents and community members concerning the rezoning, set for 6:30 p.m. on March 22nd at Killian Middle School. The School Board meets on Monday, April 2nd, at 7 p.m. and could vote on the zone plan at that time.

The 2010/11 Academic Excellence Indicator System shows the following statistics for The Colony and Hebron High Schools:


TCHS HHS(9) HHS(10-12)
Total Students: 1946 824 2105
High School Completion Rate I*: 98.2% N/A 98.6%
Class of 2010 A/P - Dual Credit: 27.1% N/A 32.8%
Class of 2010 Average SAT Score: 1102 1090
Met 2011 TAKS Standards** 79% 90% 90%
2009/10 Annual Dropout Rate: 0.3% 0.2%
Ethnic Breakdown:
White 51.1% 45.1% 48.6%
Hispanic 28.3% 15.9% 12.7%
African American 8.9% 13.3% 11.1%
Asian 6.6% 22.9% 24.9%

* Graduates and continuers - Standard accountability indicator
** TAKS Met 2011 Standard - Sum of all Grades Tested, All Tests (Initially posted numbers from another measure - corrected)

Update: Chris Roark just posted an article in the Lewisville Leader with a bit more detail.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2012/3/12 19:31  Updated: 2012/3/12 20:20
 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
The disputed area is shown wrong, the disputed area is only Castle hills phase 6.
That area is almost completed, and students from the section will not affect the HHS feeder.
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2012/3/12 20:24  Updated: 2012/3/12 20:24
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Not all of the gray area is disputed. Only the housing area where the blue marker is on the Western side of the gray area. I've clarified the text to make that more apparent.

The gray area represents the zone that currently is in Hebron, and proposed to be moved to The Colony.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2012/3/12 20:08  Updated: 2012/3/12 20:21
 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Just in time to create a false controversy for the election, Lovely!
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2012/3/12 20:31  Updated: 2012/3/12 20:31
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
That's why we're trying to have a more accurate map than the crappy PDF that LISD included in the Board packet. Unless we show people exactly where the rezone is, you'll have rumors going around that "LISD wants to rezone Castle Hills into The Colony". When that rumor got started about an area of Frisco, due to some off-hand comments from a staff member, residents there exploited it for all it was worth to build a political power base. Even when three LISD Board Members showed up to the Frisco City Council to reassure residents that no, they would not be rezoned, and that it wasn't in the plans, politicos there dismissed it as a stunt.

We've had anonymous text message campaigns before in the Flower Mound area threatening that a certain candidate wanted to rezone their children to Lewisville, where they might (gasp!) be exposed to minorities.

I tend to think that LISD would get in a lot less trouble by rezoning the unimproved area to start with.
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Poster Thread
PKelly
Posted: 2012/3/12 22:36  Updated: 2012/3/12 22:36
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
At the risk of thread-jacking, did that text message literally state they were concerned about rezoning and being exposed to minorities or is that inferred? I hate to think in this day and age anyone would have those thoughts let alone be crass enough to put it in writing... And even if you did succumb to this backwards thinking – who is dumb enough to put that in writing??
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2012/3/12 23:41  Updated: 2012/3/12 23:41
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Sorry, that part was my editorializing. Here's the post about that message.
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eagleeye
Posted: 2012/3/13 11:28  Updated: 2012/3/13 11:28
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Colonization of Hebron? What does that even mean?
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2012/3/13 17:08  Updated: 2012/3/13 17:08
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
My cornball attempt at a humorous headline. In the Middle East, "Hebron" is a disputed territory in the West Bank. Luckily our dispute here is much less consequential.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2012/3/13 13:24  Updated: 2012/3/13 17:02
 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
I would guess Patrick that it is as much or more against "poor folk" than it is minorities. Kids from schools in FM called Hedrick MS the "ghetto school". That tag passed on to LHS as well.
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JEhinger
Posted: 2012/3/12 21:49  Updated: 2012/3/12 21:49
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Steve:

No one is saying that LISD wants to rezone any other existing part of CH into anything new right now. However, LISD has a tendency to focus on cities as proxy for "community" and to disregard CH because of it's unusual situation and a willingness to set zoning boundaries without regard to community boundaries as understood by CH residents. It's a natural concern to wonder what LISD might do with respect to other phases in the future if we don't effectively convey the importance of community as we see it in the course of this discussion.

Your reference to those two other situations is kinda not fair to the residents that have organized the effort to keep phase 6 in Hebron. These folks are being very mature and professional about it and are attempting to propose an alternative that will help LISD meet its goals of avoiding over crowding at HHS and obtaining a better utilization of TCHS. And your reference to the Flower Mound situation is even more unfair given that Castle Hills Phase 6 is probably majority minority to begin with.

Your information from the TAKS data is incorrect. 78% was HHS' result for the all-tests, all grades of the TAKS-Alt, not the TAKS. Same of TCHS' and HHS9' >99% results. The comparisons for the all tests, all grades of the TAKS is as follows:

TCHS: 79%
HHS: 90%
HHS9: 90%

But the crux of this effort is not about saying bad things about another LISD school. I want TCHS to be successful. It's about the desire of existing CH homeowners to keep their students together as much as possible at Hebron HS.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2012/3/12 22:41  Updated: 2012/3/12 23:42
 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Its amazing how for the third or fourth year in a row this rezoning hysteria comes out two months before the board election. And oh by the way four of the seven board candidates live in drumroll.....Castle Hills. BOOYAH!
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JEhinger
Posted: 2012/3/12 23:58  Updated: 2012/3/12 23:58
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Two of the seven live in Castle Hills, not four.
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2012/3/13 0:14  Updated: 2012/3/13 0:14
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Those two would be
- Dr. June Ehinger, running for Place 1 (full disclosure: John's aunt)
- Trisha Sheffield, running for Place 2

Possible confusion:
Cornelia Bekker, running for Place 2 lives in the portion of Lewisville just North of the Castle Hills North neighborhood mentioned in the story.

Tracee Ali, running for Place 1, lives just a couple of cul-de-sacs over from Bekker in the same neighborhood. I believe that subdivision is called "Meridian"?
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PKelly
Posted: 2012/3/13 8:20  Updated: 2012/3/13 8:38
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
While I’m opposed to the rezoning, I think your observation regarding this appearing to be a trend during election time is interesting. I have not validated the assertion, but if true, I applaud LISD for this. Rezoning is typically brutal for all involved. To open these types of hornet’s nests during election cycles adds some amount of credibility to the suggestion.

I am, as are the neighbors I’ve spoken to, confident there is not a grand conspiracy behind this rezoning. Mr. Ellington and the board are trying to do what they think is best for the district. We are simply suggesting this is a case for a scalpel, not a chainsaw.

I think, as Steve points out, two of the candidates are from Meridian, not CH. Meridian was also just routed to TCHS to (I *think* - but am not sure - they had the option of open enrollment and no longer have that option). I estimate, including kids, probably 7-10 Meridian residents spoke about staying in Hebron during public comments during the March meeting.

Regarding the CH candidates, I know Sheffield was at the LISD meeting in March - but I'm sure as a hopeful candidate she would have been there regardless. I have not seen either CH candidate at any of the internal meetings regarding rezoning nor have I seen them active in any of the discussion threads.

I’ll admit from the outside the aesthetics could appear as if these candidates are hoping to ride some sort of CH unity wave to victory, but in my opinion this is not the case. No one seems to be exploiting this politically – at least at this time. I just did a quick scan of Trisha Sheffield’s website (http://sheffieldforlisd.com), but I could not find any mention of rezoning. I’m sure June Ehinger has a site somewhere, but after a quick Google search, I could not find anything but a few articles on her filing. I did not see any mention of this topic in any of those stories.
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2012/3/13 0:03  Updated: 2012/3/13 0:03
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
John, your point about CH standing up to convey the importance of community is noted and agreed.

With regards to the other two situations, I'm not in any way trying to suggest the current situation is like that. I'm just saying that they can get like that. From what I've heard, this group actually was quite civil and reasonable. I've just learned to never underestimate opportunistic politicians. (And before someone jumps on me again - no, I have no particular person in mind when I say that. I know some CH folks are running in this election, but I've seen nothing so far like demagoguery from any of them.)

Thanks for pointing out the issue with the TAKS numbers. They did seem odd to me when I was looking at them, thinking they were overall summaries, but yeah, you're right - that was a different measure. All I can say is "Doh!" It's fixed now though.
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JEhinger
Posted: 2012/3/13 11:56  Updated: 2012/3/13 11:56
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
The timing of this appears to have been kicked off by several unrelated real estate events that have occurred recently:

1. Construction started late last year on "Platinum Castle Hills" - an apartment development at the northeast corner of Windhaven and Josey.

2. A rezoning of a large piece of land in Carrollton in the last month or two right next to Hebron from commercial and multi-family to multi-family and single family residential.

3. An apparently new and somewhat mysterious 400 lot subdivision somewhere in the same vicinity.

4. The development within the last year of a new subdivision southwest of Meridian.

LISD has elections every year and as long as it's growing it's going to have to address neigborhood specific issues almost every year - like zoning, new construction, etc. It's inevitable that you'll have an election season with candidates from areas that are affected in some way. I don't think we'd want LISD to avoid addressing these issues in a timely manner just to avoid an election season. Nor would it make sense for a candidate from an area as small relative to LISD as CH to try to run on an us-versus-them approach. If that is the perception, the backlash could far exceed the added support.
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eagleeye
Posted: 2012/3/13 13:36  Updated: 2012/3/13 13:36
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
That is interesting data. I would submit to you that the responsible thing for LISD to do is to start these discussions earlier in the school year. In the past, pushing these rezoning discussions to the spring has been heavily politicized. In order to take politics out of it, why not start and finish these discussions in the fall? Either well before or after the election would take it out as an election issue I would think, but maybe not as these are always emotional discussions that are filled with half truths and rumors. In these trying financial times, it is extremely hard to justify empty buildings and classrooms at some schools with overcrowding at others.
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JEhinger
Posted: 2012/3/13 14:30  Updated: 2012/3/13 14:30
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
I agree but I don't think the staff could have seen this confluence of events coming any earlier and to wait until fall might have been too late.
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eagleeye
Posted: 2012/3/15 12:17  Updated: 2012/3/15 12:17
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
I really hope we are past the promises by candidates that I won't vote to send little Johnny to LHS from FMHS or to TCHS from HHS. Being a leader is difficult, but being an effective leader takes courage. I hope the current board as well as future boards will show courage in dealing with this issue and others going forward. Our district and our kids deserve no less.
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Anonymous
Posted: 2012/3/22 13:33  Updated: 2012/3/22 13:41
 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Why are they going south of 121? It looks like there is a track of land north of 121 just to the east of TCHS that should probably go to TCHS rather than what they are proposing.
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2012/3/23 8:16  Updated: 2012/3/23 8:16
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 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
Because just the rumor of that happening was enough to send the parents there into a fit.
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Anonymous
Posted: 2012/4/16 5:36  Updated: 2012/4/16 7:47
 Re: Castle Hills Residents Dispute Colonization of Hebron...
This is excellent analysis, and I'm going to include it in my research. Usually, we're not supposed to use blogs, but since this was approved, two stories have corroborated exactly what you said. Thank you.
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